Planning a Share The DigniTEA event with your friends? We’re here to help by answering the age old problem – how do you make the perfect cup of tea? The perfect cup of tea is a surprisingly controversial topic. Sticklers will…stickle. Haters will hate. But we turned to Cate, a life long tea lover for answers.
How to make the perfect cup of tea
Boil the kettle. Pour hot water over tea bag. Add milk, stir, drink.
Seems simple, right?
Making a cup of tea is simple, some would say much easier than making a fussy coffee with a noisy machine that requires squashing, steaming, heating.
But there’s an art to the perfect cup of tea, that’s why you see very few coffee shops that sell more than tea bags dunked in a metal jug that always leaks.
The perfect cup of tea is more about the process than the actual drink; with some space and time available to you, making a cup of tea can become a ritual that revives and refreshes you to tackle the rest of your day.
Tea purists would have you believe that the perfect cup of tea can only be made with loose leaf teas, and while the selection of Australian grown teas has increased dramatically over the last twenty years, the selection of fancy tea bags available in the supermarket has increased just as much, making the perfect cup of tea available to all budgets and tastes.
So how do you make the perfect cup of tea?
Start by boiling the kettle. But once it’s boiled, you need to leave it sit until all the bubbles have dissipated, otherwise you’ll scald the tea leaves, whether you’re using loose leaf or a tea bag. Use this time to get everything else ready.
For a quick cuppa with a tea bag, place the bag in clean china cup, add your sugar if you use it, then once the boiled water has settled, pour the water into the cup, away from the tea bag. I like to fill my cup quite full, because I don’t take a lot of milk in my tea. If you take sugar, then you need to stir now, so the crystals dissolve before you cool the water with milk. Add your milk, and remove the tea bag.
But the real beauty of the tea making ritual comes when making a pot of tea to share with others. Most often ceramic (including fine china which can enhance the flavour of the tea), to retain the heat of the water (dedicated tea pot drinkers will also have a tea cosy, not just your grandma), a good teapot is never washed, just rinsed with a splash water before filling with hot water to warm the pot.
As the kettle comes to a boil, pour the water out of the teapot, and add your tea leaves – one spoon per person, and one for the pot (you’ll fall into a rabbit hole if you google “why do we add one to the pot”, suffice to say that it’s generally used when making tea for multiple people, to provide strength of flavour as water dilutes the pot.) Once the boil has settled, pour water into the teapot, and cover.
The exact length of time for tea steep depends on the variety – green tea requires less time than oolong, but for our purposes, we’re drinking black tea hand blended with large leaves, and prefer a not-too-strong tea flavour, so 1-2 minutes is perfect.
Don’t forget to use that tea strainer that’s been hiding in the back of your cupboard unused; over-steeped tea can be bitter, and the last sip from your cup can be unexpectedly crunchy if there’s a leaf floating in the bottom of the cup.
Add sugar and milk (or lemon) if you like it, and sit back with your favourite shortbread on the side, ready to right the wrongs of the world.
The most important rule for making the perfect cup of tea is to throw out all of the rules, and take your time exploring how to make the perfect cup of tea that you will enjoy, by yourself or together with friends and family.
Is this your recipe for the perfect cup of tea? Do you have hints and tips to add? Please do share! Now, shall I be mother?